Week One

The author

I took this gig a week ago---multiple posts a week, basically a news-based version of what I did for the SFBG in the 90's. It's already kicking my ass, as the old "PISSED" columns were once a week and based in music. This is way tougher and way more gratifying. Thanks.

But I have to admit that, as much as I love doing this gig, the last 7 days have brought back to me one of the most vexing and confounding quandaries I have ever pondered, one that's baffled me for the last 30 years or so. One that is as bizarre as any aspect of human nature or psychology is anywhere, one that makes less sense than a Soundgarden lyric: Why on God's green earth do people with barely a pot to piss in go to war with the same ferocity as the Navy Seals went after Bin Laden on behalf of their actual enemies, the wealthy?

In every blog post, be they Redmond's, mine, Steve's--whomever's--the valiant members of the 82nd Chairborne Divison swing into battle on behalf of San Francisco's--or the world's--landed gentry. And always up against (and with corresponding vitriol) people that are pretty much exactly like them. The dispossessed are generally screwed by the powerful. Their allegiance should be to Occupy or even to moderate mainstream pols, but instead goes to the folks whose machinations lead to tax breaks and bailouts and favors for "the private sector" or directly fuck them over even worse by pricing them out of SF's whopping 49 square miles and leading to exhorbitant rents or mortgages and as such, exodus to the wilds of Stockton, Modesto or Lodi.

You'd think that something as benign as rent control would have the full thumbs up from people who really don't want to have to pull up stakes when their neighborhoods become the Pacific's Manhattan. Or that the idea that the City make deals with the Facebook/Twitters of the world that means that the city's tax base is strained rather than expanded would enrage them. But a cursory scan of these pages reveal that the commenter's target for ire isn't that whose boot is aimed straight at their asses, but at the handful of people bucking a trend that began in the early 80's--people that point out (and mildly at that) that quality of living in SF is endangered when the City devolves into a playpen for rich software developers that don't want to pay for the City's perks. Actually, the inchoate rage is aimed at anyone that suggests that "all it takes is pulling oneself up by the bootstraps/poor people are lazy" is one of the most painfully naive worldviews in history.

Even more incredible is the reflexive defense of the non-renewable energy industry and their toxic twin (sorry Steve/Joe), the insurance business. As if by divine right and a Mt. Sinai-esque proclamation from Jehovah himself, these allegedly private (but completely government dependent entities) businesses may as well graze on the banks of the Ganges according to the website's keyboard commandos, because these people "create wealth" and "give people good jobs". Neither of those are true--the plutocrats of today remove wealth and as far as a job being a gift, if the gift in question tends to be a mind numbing, stress laden drag, where's the return window? Wealth creation comes from "velocity of money" and a job is a contract fulfillment by a party that agrees to do something for money that the money bearer doesn't wanna do. 

 But anything--anything that remotely resembles a rebuke aimed at today's version of Jay Gould--gets an immediate slapdown from people whose endless online activity suggest marginal employment at best and a free ride from family or government at worst. The sheer silliness of this can never be understated, much like a wage earner hating a labor union and siding with the same boss that keeps their pay low, hours long and blood pressure astronomical from fear--but as anyone with a grasp of history recognizes, the terrified serf or Tory is always easy prey from a feudal lord or aristocrat. The demon you know beats the one you don't. And so it goes.

My boss ain't my friend. He or she is my boss. Kissing up to them isn't gonna pry love, respect or (most importantly) cash out of them--me defending their avarice or skeeviness isn't gonna make them regard me as an ally, but as a sucker. Doesn't seem right that all that affection that you bestow upon them is never reciprocated, but as the great poet D Byrne said in 1980, "same as it ever was".

Love, Johnny.










A career welfare case who's proud about never having had a job. Wow. Congratulations.

Posted by Chromefields on May. 23, 2013 @ 6:33 am

the mire in the hope he will have the time to try and bruise anyone here who criticizes the SFBG ideology.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 6:58 am

"Guardian not a union shop nor was there any attempt to organize in my time there."

See no evil, hear no evil. Yeah, we should all ignore labor history when we apply for jobs.

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 8:41 am

so you have never held a job. Who buys you food and medications? The government or your parents?

Posted by Guest on May. 26, 2013 @ 9:56 am

By the looks of your picture.....oh. there isn't one or a name, either.

Why don't you answer his question?

Posted by Scott on May. 22, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

he is using today is any more real than all those jobs he brags about never having?

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

30 something is still to old to be in mother's basement--maybe you should live on your own. Oh yeah--you can't because the rich people you worship drove up all the rents too!

Posted by Scott on May. 22, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

start to think you are JW going all nom de plume on my ass.

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

Johnny Rotten???? From the 70's??? You're older than Wendell is. Your mom's been letting you live there since you crashed your Gremlin or something?

Posted by Scott on May. 22, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

music from before their time, could they?

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 6:56 am

Great work, looks like you pissed off a few assholes, keep up the good work!

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

"very funny--but I notice that none of you couch potatoes ever answered him. San Fran has become a playground for the ultra wealthy and that isn't you"!

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 6:00 pm

blog postings. I enjoyed his contributions about music back in the 90's and knew him personally a little through mutual friends back then.

I like his straight forward writing style, but I suspect his posts will also solicit even more internet commentary for self-described "debaters" (or should that be masturbators) which will make the comment pages even more unreadable and unproductive.

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 6:22 pm

After one week's output at this caliber it's past time you got a raise.

By-the-way, "Poor people are lazy" is #21 on my Big List of Troll Tropes. These trolls are either being paid or they do it from a pathetic drive to sadism; the latter at which they become failures once such motivation is understood.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 23, 2013 @ 2:46 am

Haven't thought about my only Nick Lowe album "Pure Pop For Now People" in a while -- and thanks for that -- but for me the phrase has even greater connection in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 23, 2013 @ 2:53 am

"The Angel" sure brings in chat traffic.

Now that the SFBG has dwindled down to 30 pages, my guess is that strategy is to build up an Internet chat base before burying the paper version once and for all.

"The Angel" can do that for you from his basement digs in LA, and you don't have to pay him anything. Steve Jones, you listening? DON'T-HAVE-TO-PAY-HIM-ANYTHING.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 6:43 am

Too bad for the paid writers that SFBG laid off last year. But consistent with SFBG's long tradition of being anti-union and of cheapskatery with their staff.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 6:56 am

without evidence and for following your own philosophy?

Such as, replace unionized MUNI drivers with non-union (preferably contract) drivers.

Not only are you a hypocrite, but an intellectually challenged (ie. stupid) one at that.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 7:20 am

hire hack freelance "writers" who will work for free, thereby enabling Tim to fire his paid writers. Sound business.

My point was limited to pointing out the hypocrisy of SFBG then claiming to be pro-union, anti-business and in favor of protesting workers' "rights".

The irony is surely not lost on many here.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 7:36 am

You, the voices in your head, your imaginary friends with good deals in rent-controlled apartments and your rich uncle.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 7:53 am

That's funny because the other lefties are whining here that there are too many.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 11:29 am

Mom, he called me Stupid!

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 9:42 am

Then who funds him? Surely he eats and drinks. Rich daddy? Working wife?

Posted by Guest on May. 26, 2013 @ 9:58 am

Welcome back, Johnny. I missed your wonderfully acerbic voice in the pages of the Guardian.

To answer your post's question, could the SFBG comment trolls' right-wing ferocity come from their living on the banks of De-Nile? They don't want to recognize that the old economic ideas they've lived by no longer apply in an economy that's grown increasingly brutal to those who can't work in finance or the upper echelons of tech. So out of fear and personal cowardice, they hide behind anonymity and attack truth-tellers such as you and Tim and Steve.

Posted by Peter on May. 23, 2013 @ 8:10 am

"old economic ideas" that you claim don't work (or rather, haven't figured out how to prosper from).

Funny how all these new "single first name" male posters have appeared in this thread, all praising Johnny Wendell, or Angel, or Venom.

Looks like JW is engaged in some serious, self-serving sock puppetry.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 8:46 am

I really enjoyed JW's writing back in the 1990s. Good to see you back!


Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 9:45 am

Johnny Angel is a good writer.

Posted by Matthew on May. 23, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

Well, I remember Johnny way back in the 1990s.

Good to have you back and livening up SFBG!

Posted by Walter on May. 23, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

I always felt that Johnny had my back in the 1990s. Great to have you back on the scene.

Posted by William on May. 24, 2013 @ 8:43 am